The Morning after is our semi-daily recap post. Try not to make it awkward.
All together now (all together now!): That was one wild Wednesday night. For the short version of last night's unlikely events, check Brett's late-night roundup. For the long, rambling, wordy version, simply keep reading.
UTEP 72, Memphis 67: Well, I guess a share of the all-time conference wins record will have to do. Yes, after much sturm und drang leading up to Wednesday night's match up with the Miners, Memphis fell flat, dropping a game to a good-but-not-great UTEP squad in Memphis. This is no doubt disappointing; Memphis players and coach Josh Pastner couldn't stop talking about owning that all-time, 65-game streak. As a Tigers fan, you have two choices: You can lament the loss and tie it into John Calipari's untimely departure this offseason, and you can worry for the program's future under a younger, less experienced coach. Or you can take a minute, collect yourself, and realize that there are seniors on this current Memphis team that just lost their first conference game ever. Vacated wins or not, that is remarkable.
No. 3 Kansas 81, Baylor 75: I'll keep this one brief, since it was the one game that actually made sense last night, but it almost wasn't. Despite a raucous crowd fired up from Baylor's decision to leave the court during Kansas' pregame video session and Sherron Collins' intent from the tip-off to get his teammates as many open dunks as possible, Baylor hung around all game and made a late comeback to tie Kansas at 65 with 3:34 left in the second half. LaceDarius Dunn turned in a monster performance on the road: 27 points, nine rebounds, and four steals, while Collins led the way for the Jayhawks with 28 points and Xavier Henry came up with seven steals of his own. And late in the second half, Kansas escaped with the win, providing some small measure of sanity in an otherwise insane college basketball world.
NC State 88, No. 6 Duke 74: You've already read that this was the first time Duke and UNC have lost on the same night in seven years. That's a pretty incredible stat. But I'd wager it's less incredible than Duke losing to a hapless North Carolina State team, and less incredible than that Duke team surrendering 88 points on 70 possessions (or 1.25 points per possession) to an NC State team averaging just over a point per trip. What happened to Duke's defense? Last year the Blue Devils were quietly one of the best defensive teams in the country, and they carried that pattern through to the beginning of the 2009-10 season. But after last night's matador act (and to be fair, the Wolfpack shot an insane percentage) the Blue Devils have fallen all the way to No. 18 in the country in defensive efficiency. Oh, and more importantly, Duke has yet to win a true road game; last night's loss dropped them to 0-3 in that department. I'm guessing this is something Coach K will want to spend some time on.
No. 14 Georgetown 74, No. 11 Pittsburgh 66: Pitt is an awfully good team, but a Big East-leading one? Questionable. So after a 5-0 league start, the Panthers were probably due for some sort of natural, universal correction, some force bringing them back down to Earth, lest they go all Icarus on us and burn up Jamie Dixon's well-tailored suits. That force's name: Georgetown. The Hoyas waltzed into what the AP described as a home-court where students were "stomping their floor-level seats so passionately it caused the grandstands to ripple like a wave." If that's true, Pitt should probably get that fixed. But you get the idea. Georgetown didn't seem to mind: Chris Wright scored 27 points as Georgetown turned in a solid all-around performance. The Hoyas went to the line on 37 percent of their possessions; they rebounded 31.2 percent of their misses; they rarely committed turnovers; and they posted a 52.7 effective field goal percentage in a slow, 63-possession game. That is the statistical profile of a winner, folks, and no number of rippling bleachers and pounded seats could deny it.
Oh, and to continue with the streak-busting theme, this was Pitt's first home loss in two years. Seriously, weird stuff happened last night.
Wake Forest 82, No. 23* North Carolina 69: Speaking of weird, is it weirder that Roy Williams just lost his third game in a row ... or that Roy Williams has never lost three games in a row at North Carolina before? That, like Memphis' streak, is pretty remarkable, a sign of just how much Roy and the Tar Heels have dominated since his arrival from Kansas in 2003. But they are not dominating in 2009-10, and rather than getting better with experience the Heels, if anything, seem to be regressing. Anyway, this week will test the durability of the media's love for UNC; if they're still in the AP poll on Monday, I will drink an entire jug of milk on video and post that video on this blog. I'm not even kidding. It will almost be like a protest. A delicious, milky protest.
Everywhere else: So much to get to. DePaul busted its own ignominious streak Wednesday night, topping Marquette by one at the Allstate Arena and winning its first Big East game in 24 tries, a streak that spanned almost two years ... Iowa deserves credit for playing Michigan State tough in East Lansing, but the Hawks eventually ceded to a far superior Spartans team ... Villanova had no problems with Rutgers in New Jersey, which, man, poor Rutgers fans. That thing is bad ... West Virginia didn't get an easy one at its rare January nonconference date with Marshall, either, needing free throws to build a late margin against the Thundering Herd ... Temple edged Xavier in Philly; read Dana's recap from the scene last night ... and UConn found a forgiving home date with St. John's was just the thing to snap a three-game losing streak (and get a win without head coach Jim Calhoun on the bench).